Born in 1978 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, Will Clift’s talent and passion in art may in part be due to his father, himself a great landscape photographer. Clift is also academically accomplished, with a degree in business and engineering from Stanford University. Still, het did not give up on his gift which he had already discovered at the age of five, when he was already spending much of his time building structures with wooden blocks and leftover scraps of wood. ‘Thinking back, sculpture has been the constant activity in my life; the only thing I’ve always done.’ Clift said. Without meticulous calculations and without using glue, nails or technology, as he works on his drawings for the sculptures, he intuitively knows when the pieces will be able to stand.
Will Clift’s inspiration for his pieces comes from the world around him. He begins each by sketching on paper, and gradually refining it. By the time he is ready to fabricate the final work; the form’s original inspiration has become irrelevant to the artist, and may or may not be recognizable. As a result, different people see the same sculpture as different objects, and often none of those are its actual origin; giving its viewers a space for imagination.
‘How do they stand up?’ is probably what everyone has in mind when they first see Will Clift’s sculptures. There is a prominent presence of delicate artistic fluidity in his pieces so that they almost appear to be two-dimensional line drawings suspended in mid air. What makes the young sculptor’s works more astonishing is that he creates them without the aid of glue, nails or technology. Gravity and balance are the two essential elements in Clift’s works. Clift sees balance as the tension between order and chaos; between motion and stillness. He gives a physical presence to the effect of gravity and balance on form, but at the same time uses lightness and whimsy to give his works a sense of life; an apparent effortlessness. His wooden pieces evoke harmony and uncertainty at the same time, expressive of a sense of grace and serendipity. There is dynamic and equilibrium; in a static form, there is also a sense of movement and gesture.
Since his debut exhibition in Santa Fe in 2002, Will Clift has become overwhelmingly popular and his works have been widely exhibited across the USA. In terms of collection, Fontainbleau III Hotel (Miami), Ritz Carlton Hotel (Miami) and Four Seasons Hotel (Denver) are among his corporate and public collectors, not to mention that his pieces are part of over fifty private collections around the world. In 2007 Galerie Ora-Ora and Will Clift collaborated on the artist’s debut in Asia and it was very well received. As his sculptures emanate grace, elegance, a sense of peace and lightness, it was a breath of fresh air to the Hong Kong audience and brought them many moments of tranquility and joy.